An Ice Home on Mars: NASA Langley’s Icy Concept for Living on the Red Planet

11/01/2017
An Ice Home on Mars: NASA Langley’s Icy Concept for Living on the Red Planet
[Red Planet] Mars
metalocus, CARLOS ARES
An artist's rendering of the Mars Ice Home concept. Image courtesy of NASA/Clouds AO/SEArch
“After a day dedicated to identifying needs, goals, and constraints we rapidly assessed many crazy, out of the box ideas and finally converged on the current Ice Home design, which provides a sound engineering solution,” said Langley senior systems engineer Kevin Vipavetz, facilitator for the design session.
The new NASA concept is an "Ice Home" – officially called Mars Ice Home – and it’s a large inflatable torus, a shape similar to an inner tube, that is surrounded by a shell of water ice. 

The surface of Mars has extreme temperatures and the atmosphere does not provide adequate protection from high-energy radiation. These explorers will need shelters to effectively protect them from the harsh Martian environment and provide a safe place to call home.

The “Mars Ice Home” is a large inflatable torus, a shape similar to an inner tube, that is surrounded by a shell of water ice. The Mars Ice Home design has several advantages that make it an appealing concept. It is lightweight and can be transported and deployed with simple robotics, then filled with water before the crew arrives. It incorporates materials extracted from Mars, and because water in the Ice Home could potentially be converted to rocket fuel for the Mars Ascent Vehicle, the structure itself doubles as a storage tank that can be refilled for the next crew.

Another critical benefit is that water, a hydrogen-rich material, is an excellent shielding material for galactic cosmic rays – and read more